Friday, July 11, 2008

Birthday Cake Disaster

I am not afraid to share my disasters as well as my successes.
I decided to make the cakes for my daughter's 1st birthday and they turned out, not surprisingly, disastrous.
It was not surprising because
  1. I decided to make two cakes
  2. I'd never made either of the cakes before and
  3. I did not start making the cakes until about 2:00 in the afternoon on the day of the party.
I was doomed.

The idea had been that that I would make the cakes the night before so that if things did not turn out I would still have time to come up with alternatives. Drat me and my procrastinating tendencies!

Cake #1-Strawberry

Go on. Say it. You know you want to. It looks like someone vomited.
My plan was to make a small round cake for the birthday girl to eat/destroy and then use the rest of the batter to make a small sheet cake for everyone else.
I found a recipe that looked easy enough and sounded like it would taste good and for the most part it was easy and did taste good. It was the frosting that went horribly wrong. It was like liquid frosting and no matter what I did to it, it would not stop running down the sides of the cake. I decided to just let it harden up a bit and then I transfered it to another plate so it did not look as bad when it was time to serve it.

Cake #2-Chocolate Cream

Except for the fact that it was completely lopsided, this cake turned out pretty decent.
I decided to make the second cake because I was worried that the small sheet cake would not be enough for everyone that would be there and what if some people did not like strawberry cake?
I think a little tweaking on the recipe and some technique practice and this one could turn into a pretty good cake.

So, maybe next time I make birthday cakes I will start them a little earlier and things will go better. I was not too worried about how the small strawberry one looked because I knew it would end up like this:Strawberry Cake
1 package white cake mix
1 package (3 ounces) strawberry flavored gelatin powder
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup mashed strawberries

Strawberry Icing
1/2 cup butter
1 pound confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup mashed strawberries

Combine cake mix and gelatin powder in a large bowl. Beat in oil, eggs, water, and strawberries. Pour into 2 9-inch round greased and floured cake pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool and frost with strawberry icing.

For icing, beat the butter and confectioners' sugar together until smooth. Add strawberries. Spread between cake layers, then frost top and sides.

Chocolate Cream Cake

1 package chocolate cake mix
Whipping Cream
Chocolate Frosting

Following package directions, prepare and bake cake mix in two 9-inch round layers. Cool and split the layers horizontally. (You will only need three of the layers for this cake. Freeze the extra layer for later use.)
To assemble cake: Place one layer of cake on serving plate. Spread evenly with half the whipping cream, to within half an inch of edge of cake. Place another cake layer on top of cream then another layer of cream. Alternate cake and cream for a total of 5 layers, ending with cake layer. Gently press down on top layer to set layers together. Frost entire cake with chocolate frosting.

Whipping Cream
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
3 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

In a small saucepan, combine gelatin with water; let stand until thick. Stir constantly over low heat until just dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly but do not allow to thicken. In large mixing bowl, whip cream, sugar, and vanilla until slightly thick. On low speed, gradually add gelatin, then beat on high until cream is thick.

Chocolate Frosting
4 tablespoons cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

In mixing bowl, mix cocoa and powdered sugar. Add softened butter, milk, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.


Dianna said...

I think they look yummy! Cakes are so much work! I have a second birthday coming up . . .

Cheryl said...

See, now this is where we differ. Just the fact that you made TWO cakes and did more than just add oil and eggs makes you my hero. My hero! All your cooking and baking is awesome. So, I'm sorry that you feel your cake was a disaster, but honey, you are awesome. Awesome. :)

Stephanie said...

You win some, you lose some. My daughter's first birthday cake was an absolute disaster! I tried this ultra-healthy recipe (read: healthy is not always better!) for carrot cake that included apple juice concentrate instead of sugar, whole wheat, and raisins in both the cake and the frosting. At least your frosted cake was pink. Mine was brownish gray, lumpy, and totally unappetizing! And yours tasted good. Mine...

For her second birthday I used a box of chocolate cake mix. :-)

Ashley said...

The chocolate cream one looks really awesome! The strawberry one... yeah, it didn't matter since she just smashed it up anyway. :) I love it when people share baking disasters, so I know I'm not the only one. I made breadsticks a couple of weeks ago from scratch and was so excited about them, but they didn't rise enough at all and tasted all yeasty. I just have so many problems when I try to bake anything with yeast!

CookiePie said...

Happy birthday to your little girl! She seems happy with her cake! The chocolate one looks yummy, and I don't think the first one looks like someone vomited :) I still want to lick the icing...

Anonymous said...

Oh no, that's too bad! But the idea of strawberry cake sounds so good. I make an orange cake, but never thought of making strawberry! Maybe have to give this a shot.

Kami said...

Don't worry I have alot of pics that don't look like I want them too but they still taste yummy! I don't even try to make many b-day cakes because my mom is so awesome with her cakes and upstages me every time! By the way I love the pic of your daughter with her mashed cake. Too cute!

Allison said...

Well the good news is that the birthday girl didn't look like she cared what the cakes looked like! Besides it is what they taste like that really counts. So since they were good you came out on top!

Stephanie said...

I just made your spaghetti sauce for dinner tonight (with spaghetti noodles, of course). I tweaked it a bit to use what I had on hand, but followed pretty closely. It turned out so good! Thanks for the great recipe!

Stephanie said...

There's an award for you on my food blog, check it out! :-)

James said...

She takes cake cutting into a new league!
Both look great by the way.